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Items filtered by date: Saturday, 27 May 2017
It's been nearly 12 years since a major tropical cyclone hit Southtwest Florida, nearly 12 years since locals had to gear up and get out. During those years, it's been quiet. Blessedly quiet. After back-to-back years with hurricanes coming ashore locally, residents were relieved.
We had become accustomed to keeping our cars gassed up, our cupboards stocked, our generators checked. We knew what it was like to be without power for days, to spend hours waiting to fill up a gas can, to spend even more time on highways trying to evacuate ahead of a threatening storm.
Everyone who lived here when the last hurricanes struck has stories of Dennis, which made landfall July 10, 2005, and Hurricane Ivan, which rolled in less than a year before. Damage was widespread, forcing the closure of U.S. Highway 98 and the bridge to Navarre Beach.
We were warned and we were ready.
And then, nothing happened. For years, storms have brushed by us to the east or the west, leaving us with nothing more than rain and rip currents.
We didn't need the generators we'd queued up to buy. We weren't invited to the big dance and we were thrilled.
It's impossible to predict whether our lucky streak will continue. Every season, meteorologists with the National Weather Service make predictions and either they come true, or they don't. Either way, an average resident of Northwest Florida doesn't pay attention to the forecast unless we are in the dreaded cone of probability.
Hurricane season officially starts June 1 and ends Nov. 30.
That means we have about two weeks to decide how seriously we will take the potential threat and what we want to do about it.
Officials are gearing up, holding hurricane exercises and working through the process that is launched when a storm comes our way. It would be irresponsible for them to do any less. When there is an emergency, we expect them to be there, whether we've done our homework to prepare or not.
Hurricanes cause chaos, even when the best plans are in place.
So this is a reminder for everyone who has become complacent, who is sure that a storm won't hit Southwest Florida this season, that we hope you're right.
But we encourage everyone to take basic preparations in case you're wrong.
Here are some of the basics:
-Familiarize yourself with evacuation routes and have a plan for where you'll stay.
-Put together a disaster supply kit that includes flashlights, batteries, cash, first aid supplies and copies of critical paperwork.
-Check your house to make sure your roof and gutters are secure. Trim or remove damaged trees and limbs in your yard.
-Keep your cars filled with gasoline and your pantry filled with food that doesn't require a working stove or refrigerator.
We might get lucky. We certainly have before.But if we don't, it's better to be prepared than to wish we had been.
Published in Environment
Reefer madness, was a film originally financed by a church group that was released in the late 1930’s depicting the potential evils of Marijuana.
The madness seems to have reached Washington, Madness indeed!
Marijuana is and has been the most commonly used illegal substance in the U.S., and more than half of states in the country allow medical marijuana. Eight states and the District of Columbia have passed laws allowing its use recreationally.
However John Kelly, the Homeland Security Secretary has called marijuana a “gateway drug” and vowed his agency will uphold federal laws against its possession.
“Let me be clear about marijuana. It is a potentially dangerous gateway drug that frequently leads to the use of harder drugs,” Kelly said during a speech about his agency’s mission at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
“Its use and possession is against federal law and until the law is changed by the United States Congress, we in DHS, along with the rest of the federal government, are sworn to uphold all the laws that are on the books,” he added.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been a longtime opponent of cannabis, remains opposed even for medicinal use “It remains a violation of federal law,” he said. “I don’t think America will be a better place when more people, especially young people, smoke pot.”
Medical studies continue to say otherwise, the National Academy of Sciences released nearly 400 page report earlier this year based on 10,000 research studies, whereby the therapeutic benefits and risk factors of marijuana were weighed and compared. The review was conducted by a panel of experts led by Harvard public health researcher Marie McCormack, also 
The review clearly states that there is “conclusive or substantial evidence” that marijuana is effective for the treatment of chronic pain, treating spasticity in multiple sclerosis patients, and as a tonic for nausea and vomiting in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, also providing convincing evidence that marijuana may be an effective treatment for a host of other disorders — such as insomnia relating to painful syndromes, increasing appetite in people with HIV/AIDS, decreasing severe anxiety, glaucoma, and combating the effects of PTSD.
The review also looked at the health risks associated with marijuana use, dispelling some popular arguments against it and according to the review, smoking marijuana is not associated with the same cancer risks as tobacco — there was no evidence that marijuana use was associated with lung, head, and neck cancers. Tobacco is recreationally legal nationwide.
“It just reinforces what our policy makers should already know, This is a product with significantly lower risk factors than other things that we regulate and consume, like alcohol.” said McCormack. “
Marijuana is also far less risky than another common pain relievers. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Tylenol, generically marketed as acetaminophen is the leading cause for calls to Poison Control Centers across the states., more than 100,000 per year and is responsible for more than 56,000 emergency room visits, 2,600 hospitalizations and an estimated 458 deaths due to acute liver failure.
Acetaminophen poisoning is responsible for nearly half of all acute liver failure cases in the US and can be toxic to your liver even at recommended doses when taken daily for just a couple of weeks.
But, unlike cigarettes, children can easily buy it over the counter.
During his campaign, President Trump said he supported the use of medical marijuana. Earlier this month, after signing his $1 trillion spending bill, he publicly objected to a provision in the bill that would prohibit the Justice Department from using any funds to block implementation of medical marijuana laws by states and U.S. territories.
Despite the fact that a government sponsored poll conducted earlier this year showed that 57 percent of Americans favor the legalization of marijuana, Attorney General Sessions expressed astonishment.
To my knowledge, there has never been a recorded overdose death associated with marijuana, meanwhile the death toll from cigarettes, alcohol and Acetaminophen combined run to the millions.
And now, Kelly, Sessions and even President Trump, who have never had to experience being on chemotherapy and crawling to a bathroom in order to vomit from its effects, now seem to be making marijuana a major problem.
All the while, ignoring what the majority of the American public, we the people they work for, want.
It make you wonder, what are THEY smoking?
Published in Outdoor

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